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May 4, 2022

Remembering Lyle Alzado



One of my favorite cards in my sports card collection is a 1972 Lyle Alzado Rookie card. He was my favorite Denver Broncos player as a kid in the '70s and even when he started playing for our sworn enemies the L.A. Raiders, I still followed his football career closely with great interest. 

Back in '82 or '83 in a game against the Jets, Alzado 'helped' a player on the opposing team take his helmet off, and threw it at him. This led to a new NFL rule nicknamed the 'Lyle Alzado Rule' which banned the use of a helmet as a weapon. A rule which has since been used to severely punish those who have broken it.

Lyle Alzado was fascinating to me as a kid, and still is as an adult. He was at the heart of the Denver Broncos 'Orange Crush' defense that dominated the sport for a good stretch of the 70s. 

An absolute monster on the football field, he was one of the most feared players in the NFL at the time. It seemed the guy was always in the news, even after retiring from football. 

Heck.. the guy even fought Mohammad Ali for an exhibition match in Denver back in 1979. I remember riding my bike on that hot summer day, desperately wishing I was at Mile High Stadium watching that fight. It was a lackluster fight for sure, and it was obvious Ali was holding back, but it's still an interesting event and has its place in history. Alzado even considered getting into boxing for awhile afterward. Every Ali, Alzado, or boxing fan should be able to say they saw that fight, so here it is..




Alzado even landed his own sitcom back in the 80s called 'Learning the Ropes'. The premise was that of a single father, high School teacher and vice principal, who moonlighted as a professional wrestler. You can see the intro to the series below..





Alzado was everywhere back in the day! 'The Super Mario Bros Super Show',  'Ernest Goes to Camp' starring roles in his own movies, and many more. Even when he started suffering from brain cancer, he came out actively speaking against steroid use. He would most likely still be active in pop culture today if he hadn't passed away in 1992, just two years after his final attempt to come back to football in 1990.

Alzado was a talent that knew how to self promote, and grabbed every opportunity that came his way. He was not scared to try new things and see how far he could push himself. He definitely made his mark in many ways, and is gone but most definitely not forgotten. 

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